Across the US, people are marching to protest the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other Black people who have been killed by police.
In response, tech companies have jumped on board, crafting blog posts and tweets to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. But while their messages say they stand against racism, employees within those companies have often told a different story.
Silicon Valley has long been a mostly-white boys club: Underrepresented minorities like Black and Latinx people still only make up single-digit percentages of the workforce at many major tech companies. When you look at the leadership statistics, the numbers are even bleaker.
Making a corporate statement opposing racism should just be an initial step, says Aparna Rae, the cofounder of Moving Beyond, which helps companies make diversity, equity, and inclusion part of their business operations.
Companies should immediately “acknowledge the pain, suffering, and secondary trauma experienced by people of color employees, especially Black employees,” she said, while equipping managers to offer time off, mental health resources, and no-meeting days. They can also support Black employees by providing white employees with resources to become better-informed allies, she said.
Beyond the systemic racism they may deal with in their everyday lives, underrepresented minorities face barriers to breaking into tech that their white counterparts are less likely to face.